It follows the life of Jesus Christ from his perspective. The novel has been the subject of a great deal of controversy due to its subject matter, and appears regularly on lists of banned books. 
The central thesis of the book is that Jesus, while free from sin, was still subject to every form of temptation that humans face, including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, and lust. By facing and conquering all of man's weaknesses, Kazantzakis argues in the novel's preface, He struggled to do God's will, without ever giving in to the temptations of the flesh.

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